"if we want to achieve all we want to, we need to think a lot more like a corporate body - and we see technology as crucial in us being able to do that."
That's the view from Tony Sutton, the Group Director of Finance of Hull College, which has just embarked on a major platform upgrade of its business IT portfolio.
The software it's going to use to try and do that is from Unit4, which describes itself as an enterprise application for service organisations and which is working with Sutton and his team to implement the vendor's Business World Finance and Procurement package, which has a special Further Education 'template' to make go-live that much easier to achieve.
Sutton told 24n.biz that he and his team are focused on delivering a curriculum and experience that gives its students the best possible chance of securing a job.
He also stated that using the Unit4 business package will help it achieve this by providing his budget holders with the financial tools they need to make better informed decisions 100 per cent aligned to this aim.
Plus, he wants to see employee self-service for financial business processes, as the expectation is that that will reduce administration so that employees can spend more time on strategic activities, like teaching.
“To move forward we need a sector-specific finance tool that will reduce administration so that our highly-skilled staff can concentrate on delivering superb services," he added.
"Unit4 Business World will remove a significant administrative workload through workflow and flexible reporting. Additionally its flexibility means that we will be able to configure the system ourselves, removing the need for paid consultancy in future and therefore reducing the ongoing cost of using the system over the next 10 years.”
The new solution, to be implemented by Unit4 services implementation partner Williams Woodward, provides intelligent workflow so that the right individuals are electronically notified with the right information about decisions they need to make at the right time.
This means that finance and procurement processes can be completed faster and with greater control and commercial awareness, claim the partners.
"Reporting, financial capacity planning, the leeway for more business flexibility - I can see all of this quickly coming on-stream between now and January," he said.
"The next few months will see a set of significant milestones, but we are only at the start of our journey," Sutton went on.
Unit claims the partnership seals its status as "the leading provider of business administration solutions to the post-16 education sector in the UK".
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